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Rahm Emanuel Scolds Politico Reporter For Revealing His Cuban Vacation Plan

By Ted Cox | December 2, 2015 2:39pm | Updated on December 2, 2015 2:40pm

DOWNTOWN — Things got real awkward with Mayor Rahm Emanuel during an on-stage Politico interview Wednesday morning when the mayor's holiday travel plans to Cuba slipped out.

Politico's White House correspondent Mike Allen asked Emanuel about his upcoming family trip to Cuba — and Emanuel scolded him, repeatedly, about revealing it. He even threatened to have his wife, Amy Rule, call to continue to chew him out.

The mayor has always played his holiday trips close to the vest, and he wasn't amused when Allen asked him onstage during Illinois Playbook Breakfast interview at the Willis Tower.

At the end of a 50-minute interview, the clash began innocently enough when Allen made reference to an old line of the mayor's that "you want to come back as an Emanuel child" because of the exotic locales he and his wife visit each holiday season with their kids.

"We were saying backstage that you want to come back as an Emanuel child," Allen said. "You take your young people on fascinating trips around the world — headed these holidays to Cuba. Why?"

After a noticeable pause, Emanuel icily replied, "Well, first of all, thanks for telling everybody what I'm gonna do with my family. You had a private conversation with me, and now you've decided to make that public. I really don't appreciate that. You know what? I really don't.

"You asked me, what are you gonna do this year?" Emanuel added. "So I'm expressing to you now publicly my displeasure. My family's trips are my family. That said, Amy and I as parents make a decision every year to take our children to see other parts of the world.

"It's something my parents did with me. Because I think it's not only a great family time, but most importantly it's time they don't have to share me as a mayor. They get to have me totally 100 percent as their father. But more importantly they get to be exposed to other cultures, other parts of the world, and one of the things we want is for our children to know the world has people of different faiths, different backgrounds, with different ways of living, and coping with similar situations.

"Our kids have seen other parts of the world. And, yes, this year — if my wife doesn't kill me because of what you just did — we will take our kids to Cuba to be exposed to that culture the same way they've been to India and the same way that they have been to Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Chile and Vietnam and Laos.

"I can't wait," Emanuel said. "Can you give me your cell number? Because I'd like you to listen to Amy."

When Allen apologized, Emanuel replied: "I don't know if you know this. It's not gonna work."

Allen immediately moved to sign off and end the interview, and Emanuel gave him a brusque handshake without looking him in the eyes and walked off the stage.

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